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Russia's government cabinet asks Parliament for the power to declare a national emergency in an epidemic

The Russian government has drafted legislation that would empower Prime Minister Mikhail Misustin’s cabinet to put the nation on high alert and declare a national emergency in the event of an epidemic. The document is now published on the State Duma’s website.

The reforms would amend Russia’s law protecting the country from emergencies, stating that a high alert could be implemented due to the “spread of a disease that endangers the community.”

The bill’s authors also propose granting the prime minister’s cabinet the right to coordinate a unified state system to prevent and respond to emergencies, in the event that they are declared. 

On March 26, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov argued that President Putin has declined to call a national emergency over the spread of coronavirus because the disease “de facto” isn’t yet an epidemic in Russia. 

As of March 26, Russia has confirmed 840 cases of COVID-19. Most of these patients (546 people) are in Moscow.